Killing Prompts Health Center Security Order 

Thala Borivath Health Center. Photo: Votey

PHNOM PENH – The Health Ministry has called on capital-provincial and local authorities to strengthen health center security after a staff member was shot dead and her daughter injured. 

Kem Keo Kanika, 38, was working at the center in Andong Kralong village in Mondulkiri province when she was shot at the right temple by a man with a gun he had found in a forest.

The bullet hit her daughter on her left hand, provincial police said on May 13. 

The ministry said in an announcement on May 15 that the security order, especially for rural areas, was to ensure the safety of staff, patients and caregivers. 

“The alert aims to enhance the 24/7 service provision policy at all health centers, especially for essential healthcare services and primary treatments,” it said. 

It urged local authorities and police to guard and monitor the security at local health centers, using all methods and skills. 

Police said the man was in a relationship with the victim and shot her after they argued.

The shooter is being detained while police gather information to take the case to court. The victim’s body was handed over to her family for her funeral.

In another statement, the ministry expressed condolences to the victim's family.  

Putting more work into ensuring the safety of staff, patients and caregivers in health centers would implement the Safe Village/Commune/District Policy more efficiently, the ministry said. 

Last month, Prime Minister Hun Manet approved a budget of $170 million for 2024-2027 to improve the capability and service of health centers. 

One of the goals is to operate 24/7, offer treatment for the more serious illnesses, and purchase modern equipment so that the centers can respond to emergencies before a patient can be transferred to hospital. 

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